It has become obvious that our food supply chain is fragile, especially when it comes to providing healthy food options to at-risk communities. These issues stem from hardships in sourcing, preserving, transporting, etc. The advent of COVID-19 has made it even more clear that we need to be reevaluating the food supply chain, which has been deteriorating for decades. Now, more than ever, we must be supporting local organizations that are able to problem solve the issues, whether it’s growing and raising humane and sustainable foods, or effectively storing these locally sourced foods for better accessibility.
To that end, The Conservation Fund has announced that nine national charitable organizations are in line to receive funding from the Grant Program for Transporting Healthy Food, sponsored by freight transportation company CSX. Locally, Buffalo Go Green – a non-profit urban agriculture business that provides services and training to the underserved populations in Western New York – has been tapped as one of the recipients. The grant, ranging between $5,000 and $10,000, will allow the organization to better store and safely deliver fresh, healthy food to underserved communities that are at risk due to gaps in local food sourcing and distribution. The Fund has been working with CSX since 2014, in cities where the freight transportation company operates.
This year’s funding will allow the nine recipient organizations to collectively serve an additional 92,000 families with nearly six million meals.
“This grant will provide the necessary monies to acquire refrigerated units both on-site, at the point-of-harvest and during delivery allowing for Buffalo Go Green to expand their farmers’ market program,” said Allison DeHonney, President & CEO, Buffalo Go Green Inc. “Transporting fresh fruits and vegetables to our markets in this manner allows Buffalo Go Green to address nutritional deficits, educate participants in nutrition-based consumption, and allows affordable produce purchasing within known food deserts. Additionally, refrigerated transport of produce to these sites allows for less spoilage, making for a more cost-efficient food system with the ability to serve an immediate need on a regular basis, especially to those dependent upon public transportation.”
“CSX is proud to partner with The Conservation Fund on this important initiative to promote the distribution of fresh, healthy food to those in underserved communities,” said John Kitchens, CSX’s director of community investment. “The Fund’s Transporting Healthy Food grant program has given nourishment to thousands of families, while strengthening local food producers and some of our most vulnerable communities.”
“Local food distributors play a critical role in the health of children and families, and each year are dealing with increased demand. We are honored to support their efforts to ensure that fresh, healthy food is available to the communities they serve,” said Katie Allen, director of The Conservation Fund’s Conservation Leadership Network. “We are exceptionally grateful for our partnership with CSX and applaud the company’s commitment to farmers, churches, towns, cities, neighborhoods, and community groups working to supply fresh food to people who need it, and as a result supporting healthier lifestyles.”